Bates Wells hosts and chairs Institute of Legacy Management’s roundtable discussion on Law Commission consultation on wills

Bates Wells was pleased to host and chair the Institute of Legacy Management’s (ILM) roundtable discussion focusing on the Law Commission’s consultation on wills.

Charity Legacies

Discussion focused on key issues such as whether a new suggested dispensing power should be introduced, how the law on undue influence could be updated to better protect testators, and whether there is a need for key areas of relevant law to be updated to make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.

This consultation was established in order to provide recommendations on how a new, more modern system of wills can be created. In the words of the Commission itself, the key proposals on which the Commission is consulting include:

  • enabling the court to dispense with the formalities for a will where it’s clear what the deceased intended
  • changing the test for capacity to make a will to take into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia
  • new rules to better protect those making a will from being unduly influenced by another person
  • a power for the Lord Chancellor to make provision for electronic wills in the future, once the necessary digital technology is robust enough to prevent against fraud

The roundtable event was full to capacity with representatives of 8 of the country’s leading charities, as well as experts from BWB’s Legacies, Trusts & Probate Disputes team.

Leticia Jennings, Partner, Bates Wells Braithwaite, said:

“We were delighted to host and chair this important event, which provided an opportunity for the charity sector to join the national discussion about wills and will making.

“The current system is based on the 1837 Wills Act, and certain aspects now seem out of place in modern society with our rapidly changing family structures and ever-increasing reliance on digital technology.

“This roundtable produced a lively debate among attendees about the most effective way forward with respect to some of the ideas being proposed. However, whilst the Law Commission’s decision to consult on key reforms was welcomed, there was a general consensus among delegates that there ought to be much more focus on electronic wills so as to ensure as many people as possible take the opportunity to make a will.”

Chris Millward, CEO, Institute of Legacy Management said:

“With substantial changes in legislation likely to happen over the coming years we thought it essential to respond to the consultation on behalf of our charity members. This event, which provoked a wide-ranging discussion with many useful views and insights, will enable us to do so, and we hope that this kind of event with BWB will encourage more sector participation in the future.”

For more information, please visit or the Institute of Legacy Management at

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of November 2, 2017.